MANILA, July 21, 2015– Following mock polls on Monday, a Catholic bishop has pinned hope on a proposed “lotto-style” voting technology.
For Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the Transparent Election System (TAPAT), which he personally tested, is a breath of “fresh air”.
“We realize we are not stuck [with] Smartmatic alone as if it’s the only way,” Pabillo said.
“If we create laws tailor-fitted only for them, eventually in the long run these rules will accommodate only them and neglect the other groups,” he said.
Pabillo, along with Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista and other Comelec officials joined in the mock elections held at the Pamantasang ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros.
Several PLM students also tested TAPAT which uses a lotto style vote-counting setup designed by father-and-son tandem Arnold and Angelo Villasanta.
Similar to the Smarmatic’s precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, the system also has optical mark readers and a voter verified paper audit trail as required in the automation law.
Poll watchdog group AES Watch said TAPAT is better than PCOS machines in terms of its interface, faster canvassing of results, and cheaper production and maintenance.
Unresolved PCOS issues
While the new voting system has “promising features”, Bautista said there is no more time for Comelec try any alternative poll system.
Pabillo said above speed and accuracy, transparency and honesty are the most important factors to be considered in the voting process.
“We always tell the people to vote wisely, not to be besmirched by vote buying. However, with all our reminder to the people, a question still arises: were the votes canvassed properly? Were the votes of the people important?” he added.
“I think it is a good way we have a lot of people who desire for a change in elections, that the votes of everyone be recognized,” the bishop also said.
Pabillo is among the bishops who are critical against reusing the PCOS machines for next year’s presidential elections because of many issues “that remain unresolved until now”. (Luke Godoy/CBCPNews)